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11 January 2013, 11:44

Beta for Chrome on Android now available

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Chrome Android Beta Icon Google has made a beta version of Chrome 25 for Android 4.0+ available in the Google Play store, bouncing the version number into synchronisation with the current desktop version. The current stable version of Chrome for Android 4.0+ is version 18. The availability of a beta version and Beta channel updates for Chrome on Android is a new step from Google, who had previously only made stable, final versions of the mobile browser available. Google says it is aiming to push periodic updates out to the beta and appears to indicate that it will be accelerating development of the Android version of Chrome to match the development of the desktop version of the browser.

Users will be able to run both the stable version and the beta version side by side. The beta version can't be searched for within the Google Play store though; users will have to navigate to to install the application.

The new beta includes performance improvements in JavaScript, which Google say gives it 25%-30% better results with Google's Octane benchmark. It also adds support for CSS Filters. The developers do flag up a number of known issues with this first beta release including sluggish performance on the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S, frequent freezes on some versions of the Qualcomm GPU driver, formatting breaks due to text auto-sizing on some sites and other issues with bookmark editing, links on Nexus 7 not working, Facebook comments not working and loss of YouTube video controls. With the regular updates coming though, its likely many of these issues will be fixed soon. If users find new issues, they are requested to file a bug report.

Chrome for Android is based on the open source Chromium project and Google says it is open sourcing many of its components but, currently, there is no downloadable source tree for a complete Chromium-based Android browser.


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